Enterprise Agile Transformation Reality Check: The limits of “cookie cutter” enterprise agile transformations

Accomplishing a lasting enterprise agile transformation requires more than some budget, superficial PMO support, some certified scrum masters and lukewarm executive sponsors.

Lasting agile transformations are an enterprise culture change, where all key leaders, stakeholders and organizations must be open to genuine introspection and collaborate in a flexible manner. If the organization is not prepared to leave their respective comfort zones and embrace agile values and principles, a different set of software development practices will likely produce minimal desired productivity, creativity and cross functional alignment results.

Agile transformation work is indeed a four letter word, and an effective and long lasting agile transformation requires genuine leadership, engagement, grit, openness and energy. When organizational leaders (business, product management and software development) and team members bring these assets to the table, amazing results, shifts and empowerment can occur!

Scrum on the inside, Waterfall on the outside!

Scrum on the inside, waterfall on the outside:

I am currently working as a “Scrum Guru” or Scrum Mentor to a very large national HMO.

They have embarked on a “Mega Program” to deploy new Pharmacy applications throughout the country and are attempting to retire a legacy set of applications that have been in use for over a decade. Additionally this project has been in the planning stages for many years, and is now a “must have” for the organization.

Due to past challenges with their in house waterfall software development processes, this group is now the second major program within the organization to attempt to work in an Agile & Scrum manner.

There are many, many things that could be blogged about this project, but one item that has grabbed my attention is that the program seems like Scrum on the inside and waterfall on the outside. Even with the adoption of Scrum within the program, there still are innumerable parts of the client organization that operate with waterfall processes, timeframes, expectations, etc.

As if the transition for this program to Agile and Scrum is not challenging enough, there are many external IT and non IT organizations that are “died in the wool” waterfall folks. Can this project be successful with this model? Yes, as it is still better than the alternative! (All waterfall, all the time) Will it be challenging and sometimes painful? Yes and of course yes. Is this enterprise unique in encountering this reality when it is courageous and smart enough to adopt the Scrum process? No, this is probably the rule rather than the exception for large enterprises that attempt to adopt Scrum.

Anyway, if you have any comments or suggestions for us, please don’t keep it to yourself!

Cheer, Paul